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[379] as I knew he could not stop short of the Kanawha River and he was, therefore, disposed of for some time. Hac he moved to Southwestern Virginia, he would have done us incalculable mischief, as there were no troops of an) consequence in that quarter, but plenty of supplies at tha time. I should, therefore, have been compelled to follow him.1

My command had marched sixty miles, in the three days pursuit, over very rough roads, and that part of it from the Army of Northern Virginia had had no rest since leaving Gaines' Mill. I determined therefore to rest on the 22nd, so as to enable the wagons and artillery to get up, and to prepare the men for the long march before them. Imboden had come up, following on the road through Salem after the enemy, and the cavalry was sent through Fincastle, to watch the enemy and to annoy him as he passed through the mountains towards Lewisburg, and also ascertain whether he would endeavor to get into the valley towards Lexington or Staunton.

1 In his report Grant says: “General Hunter, owing to a want of ammunition to give battle, retired from before the place” (Lynchburg). Now it appears that this expedition had been long contemplated and was one of the prominent features of the campaign of 1864. Sheridan, with his cavalry, was to have united with Hunter at Lynchburg and the two together were to have destroyed General Lee's communications and depots of supplies and then have joined Grant. Can it be believed that Hunter set out on so important an expedition with an insufficient supply of ammunition? He had only fought the battle of Piedmont with a part of his force, and not a very severe one, as Jones' force was a small one and composed mostly of cavalry. Crook's column, not being there, was not engaged. Had Sheridan defeated Hampton at Trevillian's, he would have reached Lynchburg after destroying the railroad on the way, and I could not have reached there in time to do any good. But Hampton defeated Sheridan and the latter saw “infantry too strong to successfully assault.” Had Hunter moved on Lynchburg with energy, that place would have fallen before it was possible for me to get there. But he tarried on the way, and when he reached there, there was discovered “a want of ammunition to give battle.”

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